B-School Chart of the Week: Which School Has the Highest Average Percentage of Women?

Although quantifying a school’s profile certainly does not tell you everything, it can sometimes be helpful in simplifying the many differences between the various MBA programs. Each week, we bring you a chart to help you decide which of the schools’ strengths speak to you.

The underrepresentation of women in business school has been both an enduring problem and a hotly disputed issue in recent years. The fact that far fewer women enroll in MBA programs each year than men is likely reflective of wage gaps and systemic inequalities in the business world more broadly. Multiple explanations have been posited for this gender disparity among MBAs, from divergent ethical world views between men and women to institutional discrimination that may predispose business schools to “ignore” their female students.

In any case, if you are a woman pursuing an MBA and targeting the traditionally male-dominated world of business, choosing a supportive program may be an important consideration. The number of women enrolled in business school fluctuates year-to-year, with females typically constituting slightly more than one-third of each incoming class. Averaging the figures for the top-ranked programs from 2011 to 2015, we see that UPenn Wharton comes out significantly ahead, averaging a 41.8% female representation for the past five years. In contrast, UC-Berkeley Haas stands at the bottom of our list, with women accounting for only 29.6% of each class, on average.

However, consulting the female representation percentage of a school’s most recent incoming class(es) may provide only a superficial way of gauging the program’s support of female students—though the factor is nonetheless relevant. For more detail about clubs, networking opportunities, and social programs for women and other underrepresented groups at the leading MBA programs, see our mbaMission Insider’s Guides.


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